It is becoming an annual tradition for me to head off with the camera to photograph deer during the rutting season. I normally travel to Bushy Park near Richmond Park in London for this annual outing. Due to other pending commitments over the following weekends, and with the local weather looking good for misty/foggy conditions but clears skies as well, I opted for Windsor Great Park.
My first objective however was to try and get some shots of Windsor Castle looking back from the Long Walk, hoping the misty conditions would create something special.
As I briskly made my way up the Long Walk (which is 2.65 miles from the Castle gate to the Copper Horse), I had a taste of the treat I was in for later with the deer. Stags from seemingly every direction were bellowing, with large herds of deer spread across the opens areas of the park. As a herd of deer ran across the Long Walk it was time to get the camera out even though the light was low (having to push up the ISO high to get reasonable shutter speeds for moving deer!).
I made my way up to the Long Walk and soon realised that it was going to be a perfect morning for this visit. The view from the Copper Horse is always good, but when the conditions were like this particular morning, it turned into something really special.
The first photos below were taken after sunrise but when the sun was obscured by cloud.
The moment I was waiting for was when the sun would break through the cloud and start lighting up the castle tower, and the column of trees lining the walk - which happened below.
It was then time to start stalking deer! Always a fun task, but challenging to avoid disturbing them where possible, and also looking for special lighting to make that added bit of uniqueness to an image.
This first image draws my mind back to our many visits to the Highlands of Scotland. The majestic stag viewing his surroundings.
The best sunlight of the day for photos is known to be the hour after sunrise and before sunset, and this day was no exception with the light creating some super views of the deer and bringing out the autumnal colours.
I didn’t see any clashing of antlers (although I heard some on the way back to the car), but the stags were definitely in an active frame of mind, with plenty of chasing around and bellowing!!
With the mist still lingering due to the low temperatures it created some great atmosphere and backdrop for the photos.
Still quite a chill in the air!
I think one of my favourite photos was the next one, as the stag followed the group of females, bringing to my mind a picture of it defending its family, although I doubt that was what was in its mind at the time!
It certainly turned out to be a special start to the weekend, and far exceeded my expectations in every way - but it was time to get home with a busy day ahead, and so it was time to say goodbye to the deer until next time!